Real Retail TV: Managing Your Retail Staff – 4 Reasons They Don’t Do What You Want Them To Do

As a guy who owned a retail
business for 19 years, I know the frustration
that people experience when their employees, when
their team members, when their sales associates,
whatever you want to call them, don’t do what you
want them to do. In this episode, I’m
going to share with you exactly why don’t people
do what you want them to do and what you can do about it. [MUSIC PLAYING] Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, in the
mid-80s, I had what I thought was going to be
my best team ever. I had hired a group of young,
good looking, articulate, accomplished, friendly
college kids, and I thought, this is going to be great. And it didn’t quite
turn out that way. Have you ever done that? Have you ever hired
somebody and go, man, this person is going
to be a superstar, and they didn’t
turn out that way? Well, I had an
entire team of that. And so at the time I was living
in Grand Haven, Michigan. I had a house right
across the street from the beach, one of
the most popular beaches in the state of Michigan. This was supposed to
be an awesome summer. But my customers weren’t getting
the service they deserved. I knew it and it was
driving me crazy. Well, one day, on a rare day
off, I went to the beach. And I was sitting there and I
wasn’t enjoying myself at all. I was thinking about them. I was thinking about my store. I was thinking about
what I knew that they weren’t doing in my store. So finally I got so frustrated
I packed up my stuff, I brought it home, I
drove down to Chinook Pier where my store was located
and I parked far away. And I snuck up to Chinook Pier. Now Chinook Pier was two
buildings with a big boardwalk in between the buildings. And here are the windows on
my store, the Mackinaw Kite Company. And here were the
windows on the store that faced my store, The Surf Shop. So I snuck into The Surf
Shop to spy on my team. Have you ever wanted
to spy on your team? Well, the window
that faced my window was covered with a rack
of women’s bikinis. So my head is sticking out of
this rack of women’s bikinis. I must have looked like Jack
Nicholson in The Shining, right? And all of a sudden, the
manager from The Surf Shop taps me on the shoulder and
says, Bob, what in the world are you doing? But she knew what I was doing. I was spying on my staff. But here’s what is
important and what’s germane to this
conversation here today. At that moment, I realized that
I didn’t know what I was doing. And I thought to myself,
how can Nordstrom have hundreds of stores and
thousands of sales associates give legendary
customer service, and I have two stores and a
couple of dozen employees, and I can’t get them to
do what I want them to do? So I set out to
find out, and that’s what I’m sharing with you now. Why don’t people do what
you want them to do? The first reason is they
don’t know what to do. Let me give you an example. Let’s say I came to work for you
and you owned a garden center . And you decided to go
away for a weekend, and you say, Bob,
take care of things. And I’d go, yes, boss,
I’ll do a good job for you. It’s hot, middle of summer,
boss goes away for the weekend. He comes back, all
the plants are dead. And he goes, Bob, why
didn’t you water the plants? And I said, boss, I didn’t
know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know I needed to
water the plants, you know? I’ve never grown a plant before. So it’s the boss’s fault because
he didn’t tell me what to do. Your people are
not mind readers. You have to tell
them what to do. The second reason is they
don’t know how to do it. So going back to the analogy
or the story of the garden center, so my new
boss, it’s week two, and he’s going to go away
for the weekend again. And so he says, Bob, you know,
I really like you, you’re a friendly guy, my
customers like you. But this week, water the
plants while I’m gone. Yes, boss, I will
absolutely water the plants when you’re gone. And so he leaves, and in my
enthusiasm to water the plants, I water them, water
them, water them. I kill them. I over water them. Boss comes back and he says,
Bob, you killed all the plants. How did you do it? I said, I don’t know, boss. I watered them. I watered them like crazy. You see, he did not
tell me how to do it. He showed me what to do,
but not how to do it. The third reason is they’re
more comfortable not doing it than they are doing it. I’ll give you an
example of this. This is where sales
training– sales training is a perfect example of this. You can train
people how to sell. You can give people the six
steps to the perfect purchase. But unless you’re
constantly helping them feel more comfortable
being skillful salespeople, they’re going to revert back to
their old habits, the old “May I help you?” or “Hi.” You need to make them
comfortable doing it, and you also have to make them
uncomfortable not doing it. So it’s two things
at the same time. One is give them skills,
make them comfortable. And the other is have
accountability in place and make them uncomfortable
if they’re not doing what you want them to do. The fourth reason is they
don’t have the tools to do it. So going back to our
garden center story, boss leaves again,
and he goes, Bob, I’m leaving again for the weekend. Now you know how to do things. Good luck. I’ll see you on Monday. And then he took
the hose with him because he needed to
do something wherever it was that he was going. So I didn’t have a hose
to water the plants. I didn’t have the
tools to do the job. Again, I’m going to go back
to sales training here. This happens all the time. Owners, managers expect
their team members to be skilled
salespeople, but they don’t train them how to sell. They don’t give them the
tools, the skills to do it. So these are the four
reasons that people don’t do what you want them to do. And here’s what I want
you to think about. The next time you
become frustrated with one of your team members,
stop what you’re doing, look yourself in the
mirror, and ask yourself, do they know what to do? Do they know how to do it? Are they comfortable do it? And do they have
the tools to do it? And almost always, the
answer is no to one of these four questions. And then that takes the
emotion out of the process. And it allows you
to get your people to do what you want them to do. So your action item today,
should you choose to accept it, is to write out three instances
where you were frustrated with an employee
because they weren’t doing what you want
them to do, and then evaluate what was missing. Think about what happened there. Make this process part of
your managerial thinking. Well, there it is. Four reasons people don’t
do what you want them to do. This, what I just
shared with you, was a real game changer for me. When I learned this, it
really, really helped me because it took the
responsibility away from my employees and
put it right back on me. If you liked what you heard,
liked what you learned in this episode
of Real Retail TV, I would encourage you to
go to and sign up for our free
weekly tip of the week. And if you want
to go even deeper, if you want to learn more,
I would strongly, strongly consider investing in the
Retail Mastery System. The Retail Mastery system is
the most comprehensive training program ever assembled for
independent retailers like you. You can learn about it at What– I knew what they– OK. So OK. Where do I– So–

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